Mint Julep 101

Mint Julep 101

It’s Derby Week. The week where there’s still a chance that THIS is the year of the Triple Crown winner.

This is one of my favorite weeks of the year. When we lived in Fort Valley, we hosted a yearly Kentucky Derby party, complete with silver mint julep cups, red roses galore, hors d’oeuvres, amazing hats and gambling. Oh, and lots of Bourbon!

In honor of this week and to give y’all time to prepare for Saturday, I thought I’d share my two mint julep recipes with you. One is the traditional mint julep and another is a non-alcoholic version that can also be used as a lower sugar mint julep.

I discovered the non-alcoholic version one year when like 5 of my guests were pregnant (what a shame, at such a great drinking occasion). I found the recipe and they loved it!

Traditional Mint Julep

First, prepare the mint syrup

  • 1 ½ cups fresh mint, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil slowly, over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves.

Remove from heat. Cover and cool completely. Pour mixture through a wire-mesh strainer into a bowl. Cover and chill thoroughly.

This can be made a few days in advance.

Then, individually prepare the mint juleps for your guests or yourself.

  • 2 to 4 tablespoon Bourbon
  • 1 tablespoon Mint Syrup
  • fresh mint sprigs, for garnish
  • powdered sugar, for garnish

Combine Bourbon and Mint Syrup. Serve over crushed ice. Garnish with mint sprigs and powdered sugar.

You can add simple syrup to cut the strength of the Bourbon if you wish.

To make a pitcher of Mint Juleps, put 1 cup of Mint Syrup for every 2 to 3 cups of Bourbon.

Non-Alcoholic or Lower Sugar Alcoholic Mint Julep

  • 2 cups fresh mint, chopped
  • 8 cups apple juice
  • ½ cup fresh lime juice
  • fresh mint sprigs, for garnish

Combine mint and apple juice in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Cover and cool. Chill thoroughly.

Pour mint mixture through a wire-mesh strainer into a 2 1/2 quart pitcher. Stir in lime juice.

Serve over crushed or shaved ice with 2-4 tablespoons of Bourbon if you wish. Garnish with mint sprigs.

Presentation is Everything

Use the best you have. Silver, crystal, good Bourbon. It’s only once a year. Live it up!

At post time, I expect you all to be raising your cups, frosted on the outside, minty on the inside, as the horses are loaded up and the famous words are spoken: Aaand they’re off!

Live From My Couch… It’s the Royal Wedding

Live From My Couch… It’s the Royal Wedding

The Royal Wedding was more than just a wedding. It was a fashion show, a fairy tale and a Twitter Fest! Facebook and Twitter were blowing up from the sheer quantity of chatter about the festivities. At one point, it was reported that over 100,000 tweets PER MINUTE were being generated using the #RoyalWedding hashtag. That’s insane, people!

I helped with that number and thought y’all would love (HA!) my wonderful commentary about the occasion.

The night before:

Off to bed… See y’all before the sun comes up, with my scones and a spot of tea.

Up at 4:30 and the Tweeting commenced:

Woohoo #royalwedding

When did Elton John get so old? #RoyalWedding

Watching TLC and NBC coverage. Flipping back and forth…#RoyalWedding

That lady got a purple cast for the occasion. #royalwedding

I wonder if the Prime Minister’s wife has on spanx under that dress.#RoyalWedding

Oh look! They’re so CUTE :) It seems like just yesterday those handsome boys were born! #iamold#royalwedding

I’m all weepy. How magical! It’s a Prince and an almost-Princess!#royalwedding

It’s so relaxed in there it seems. I love it! #royalwedding

Me, too!! RT @the818: Real live princes, motherf**kers. That shit is blowing my tiny American mind. #wakslumberparty

I wish those buses were like the Fur Bus!! #royalwedding

We’re going over next June for the Diamond Jubilee… who wants to invite us to an official party? #RoyalWedding

RIGHT? I want to go buy a commuter bus now! RT @mamaspohr: That’s some SWEET product placement, VW. #royalwedding

I’m totally getting one. Uh, when I marry a Prince or something. RT @the818: I want a Bentley. #wakslumberparty

And the queen is in YELLOW!!! BOOM! #RoyalWedding

Where do I get a tiny uniform like those little boys have? Henry needs one!

I hope the Queen remembered to turn her iPhone off so it doesn’t go off during the service. #RoyalWedding

OOH it’s a PRINCESS!!!!!!!!! #ROYALWEDDING

Oh my gosh. I wonder if she’s as giddy as I am? #RoyalWedding

::SQUEE:: RT @beantownkate: OMG!! Flower girls and miniprinces!

Oh my gosh.. I’m going to cry. She’s GLOWING! #RoyalWedding

He just said “You look beautiful” OH MY GOSH I”M CRYING!!!!#royalwedding

No, I’m not singing along and reading along in my printed out programme. Nope. Not me. #RoyalWedding#YESIAM

Vows are so much more beautiful with a British accent.#RoyalWedding

I KNOW! RT @the818: He can’t stop smirking. I’m all a twitter, twitter. #wakslumberparty

The love between William and Kate seems to have killed Twitter.#RoyalWedding

RT @alexcampbell11: If we’ve learned anything from Royal Wedding it is this. Listen to your mother. It just might land you a prince & title.

RT @BritishMonarchy: Prince William and Catherine Middleton will become The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on marriage

RT @unexpexpectbaby: “Be who God meant you to be, and you will set the world on fire.” #royalwedding

Haha! Henry just said, “Bring out the kissin” #RoyalWedding

Where are they honeymooning? Gatlinburg, TN? The Poconos? Panama City Beach? #RoyalWedding

RT @guiltysquid: Say what you want but Kate just married herself a prince. She pretty much wins.

@CountessMo Well, it’s a shame they won’t go to the Poconos. They have those champagne jacuzzi thingies, yaknow :)

Anybody notice there’s no other yellow in the church except the Queen? Did they send out notice for guests not to wear yellow?#RoyalWedding

@mamaspohr Probably awkward to sing God Save The Queen when you ARE the Queen. Maybe?

I wish they were walking out to “Someday my Prince Will Come” THAT would be epic! #RoyalWedding

This is giving me chills. So beautiful!

Me, too. RT @That_Biz: Bash it all you want but this is history and I’m all kinds of choked up. #RoyalWedding

It’s too bad they couldn’t get a unicorn to pull their carriage.#RoyalWedding

I KNOW :) So sweet! RT @meredithblumoff: He held her flowers! SWOON!

((re: Pippa and Harry needing to hook up)) @AmazingGreis Is Pippa single? If so, you’re totally right. Just think they could be double in-laws or whatever :)

RT @MommasGoneCity: If you weren’t totally lovestruck at this wedding, I fear your heart is made of stone. So totally perfect, it was!

In spite of my love & obsession for the #RoyalWedding, my heart is still with all of those who lost their homes and loved ones in the South.

Kate and William sitting in a balcony. K-I-S-S-I-N-G. (Thought Harry & Pippa may make out) #RoyalWedding

The mom in me is nervous about those kids standing so close to the edge of the balcony!

I figured it out. Beatrice and Eugenia looked like Kelly Osborne and Lady Gaga coming in.

I love the getaway car! #RoyalWedding

Gorgeous! RT @ClarenceHouse: Want to see what the wedding cake looks like? http://bit.ly/mSAU5Y#rw2011

And then this morning:

This was my favorite image from the #RoyalWedding. She turned and took just “one last look” at the people. *sigh*http://twitpic.com/4rel2t

Watching Princess Margaret’s wedding. Kate’s dress looked a LOT like hers.

I love knowing now that Harry told William, upon sneaking a peek down the aisle at Kate, “Wait til you see her.” ::swoon::

You know? It was a magical morning. We had scones and tea. We watched until we couldn’t watch anymore. We made sure Henry got to see parts of it. We talked about our trip we’re planning for next summer to London.

I don’t understand not being intrigued by the thousands-of-years-old traditions that were celebrated, even as Americans who renounced our allegiance to Britain. So what? We don’t do anything on such a grand scale in our country, certainly not with such grace, dignity, calm and order.

And now? Now that we’ve taken a slight break from reality and indulged in a fairy tale of grand proportions, we can go back to bickering about budgets, politics and birth certificates. We can continue to pray for and send aid to the storm-ravaged areas of the country. We can worry about deciding between buying fresh produce or buying gas to drive to and from work.

And as parents, we can try to figure out how to manage to eek our sons/daughters into the right places so we, too, can one day see them have a fairy tale marriage to their prince or princess.

After all, we all deserve to live happily ever after, right?

 

Tiaras and Tea: A Royal Affair to Remember

Tiaras and Tea: A Royal Affair to Remember

I held off publishing this until this afternoon in light of yesterday’s storms that roared through the Southeast. At this time there are 250+ fatalities, thousands of injuries and entire towns wiped off the map. For more information on how to help, see my earlier post, GIVE BLOOD and pray for those who lost their homes, loved ones and lives.

The Spencer Gold Tulip Tiara, c. 1830

Aah… the Royal Wedding.

I’m not going to lie. I’ve got Royal Wedding Fever. This is not to be confused with typhoid or scarlet fever, though.

This fever started when I was 5. It’s one of my first vivid memories.

My mom made sure we experienced the Royal Wedding of Diana and Charles (in 1981) like princesses. My sister and I were up at the crack of dawn, settled in on sleeping bags, blankets and pillows in the middle of our living room, donning tiaras (real ones from our jewelry store) and having a tea party.

We watched and imitated the wedding for weeks. And we honestly believed that we lived in a world where anyone COULD be a princess, if only they could meet a prince.

We followed as Charles and Diana charmed the world. We watched as they drifted apart. We watched as they helped people. There was drama. There was unrest. There was a divorce. Then there was Diana’s death.

It didn’t seem possible that such a beautiful princess could be gone. Watching her boys walk behind her casket was heartbreaking, but knowing that one day William, the prince who would be King, would have a princess of his own was reassuring.

The pomp and circumstance in everything that the British Monarchy does is so intriguing to me. We know nothing of the sort in the US. It’s such a foreign concept to us, such an old practice dating back to Kings and Queens hundreds of years ago.

And now. Now it’s the eve of the Royal Wedding for the “child who would be King” and his fiance Kate (which, her name is Catherine so why isn’t it Cate?).

So many people are wondering why people are all atwitter over the Royal festivities. I only have a few novice theories on that.

  • Most of them are too young to remember the wedding of Charles and Diana. The Royal Weddings that have taken place since then haven’t been as high-profile as this one.
  • The 24 hour news sources and social media has inundated us with information thus making us tired of it before it even gets here. I do agree that maybe we don’t need live coverage from London for 2 weeks in advance of the wedding. Maybe the day before, but not for weeks on end.
  • It’s also hard to separate ourselves and our depressed US economy from the millions of dollars being spent on this event across the pond. My answer to that is simply, “What does it matter?” It’s not our country. It’s not our money. It’s what they do. They’re royal and we’re not. They can do whatever the eff they want to. It’s that simple. The Royal Family has no impact on anything that goes on in our country anymore, you know, since we declared our independence from them. So what’s so wrong about thinking that this “big thing” they do is amazingly cool. It’s not like they do it every day.
  • They’re grumpy and don’t want anybody else to have something that they can’t have OR they have no romantic bones in their bodies.

Well, we’re intrigued. We (Jason and I) are so intrigued by all-things-Royal that we’re planning a trip to London next summer around the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. We’ve talked about a trip there for years and are finally going to do it.

We’re also going to get up at 5am tomorrow and watch the coverage. You can make fun of us. We’re good with that. We’ll DVR it so Henry can watch some of it because even though he’s a boy, he’s into princes and knights and saving the princess so he’ll probably love it.

So today I’ll head to the store and buy some scones and tea and maybe even a tiara to wear in the morning. I’ll watch and probably cry and you’ll more than likely make fun of me.

And I’m ok with that. I’ll be the one who remembers when King William got married!

 

Terrifying Tornadoes *Updated with More Links*

I had a post scheduled to go up this morning about the Royal Wedding. Seems irrevelant now. It will post later on but I felt it was inappropriate to share it with all the devastation across the Southeast and up the East coast yesterday/last night/this morning.

Going to Auburn, I have many MANY friends from all parts of Alabama. Tuscaloosa is home to our biggest rivals but home to many wonderful people. I have many friends, one of my best friends, in the Northeast part of GA where tornadoes destroyed so much.

I spent last night, until about 1am (4 hours past my bedtime) waiting for storms to hit us, but we were spared like a little island in the middle of a big pond of super cell storms. I’m pretty sure we didn’t even have any rain. At least it doesn’t look like it this morning.

So for all of those waking up to devastating destruction in their yards, homes, neighborhoods and for those still searching for loved ones, my heart aches for you. I’m praying for you and all of those impacted.

The death toll keeps rising and hopes and dreams continue to be shattered.

Here’s how you can help storm victims:

GIVE BLOOD!

You can visit www.redcross.org to donate, or instantly donate $10 by texting REDCROSS to 90999. You can also call 1-800-RED-CROSS.

Money goes a LOT further than “things” because EMAs can use the money to buy items that are necessary.

My Auburn friends (or ANY friends) can join Toomer’s for Tuscaloosa on Facebook to learn how we can give back to those who have loved us through our tree poisoning debacle.

There is a state-by-state listing on the Toomer’s for Tuscaloosa website that shares places and ways you can help, wherever you are, aid those left in the wake of this devastating storm system. My friend Alena is helping put it all together.

Do you EXTREME COUPON? Do you have a stockpile of free or almost-free goods in your basement of groceries and cleaners and toiletries? Consider packing some up and getting them to a drop point. These people across MS/AL/GA/TN have lost EVERYTHING.

CNN has a very thorough list of ways you can help, from the Salvation Army to local groups dispatching their services.

Check in with your friends and make sure they have what they need. A lot will be rebuilding their lives and we need to help as much as we can.

Local churches and other organizations across the country are gathering goods to send to the areas across the south and east coast. Check with YOUR church and local groups to see if they are putting together needed items.

UPDATING WITH MORE LINKS:

  • The Auburn Family All In” Relief Fund is targeted at communities throughout the state of Alabama which were hit hard by the tornado disaster.
  • The Toomer’s for Tuscaloosa Relief Fund is targeted specifically at relief efforts in Tuscaloosa.
  • From now until May 31, AuburnUndercover.com will donate 100% of the money we receive from sales in our fan shop to the Red Cross for relief efforts to help storm victims who need assistance. There’s no fine print. Whatever the check is from Fanatics, we will sign over 100% of the proceeds. This is an opportunity to get some great gear and help out a lot of people.
  • Check al.com and 100wapi.com for information.

My friend Miranda has friends and family in North Georgia who were impacted by the storms. Please check out her post and The United Way of Northwest Georgia for ways to help in North Georgia.

My friend Kim has gathered a few ways to help people, too. Check her post about it here.

To help students at the University of Alabama who have lost a lot, if not everything, the UA Bands has set up a site to help.

The Junior League of Birmingham will match all donations made. See here.

The Weather Channel has a page dedicated to ways to help storm victims.

**PLEASE “LIKE” this page and it will post to your Facebook feed. Getting the word out any way we can on ways that people can help is what we need.

If you know of other resources, please post links in the comments.

No Real Post Today, Eh…

That’s a lame attempt at a shout-out to my Canadian friends.

Henry and I are playing hooky from school today and heading in the potentially nasty weather to Greenville, SC to meet one of my online friends Kat and her 2 gorgeous daughters. Kat lives in Nova Scotia and is in South Cackalacky for the week.

The weather’s supposed to get pretty bad early this evening so I may not get to spend as much time with her as I wanted, but any time is more than we’ve ever had together!

Stay tuned for pictures and stuff!

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